Women's charities consider merger

The Fawcett Society and the Young Women’s Trust have begun merger talks, the two charities have announced. 

They said in a statement that discussions were at an “exploratory stage” and that both organisations were in stable financial positions. 

The statement said the talks would consider what the charities might achieve by merging in terms of advancing their shared vision of creating equality for women and girls. 

The charities said it would take several months before any conclusion is reached. 

In response to a question about how the merger talks had begun, a spokesperson for the charities said the two organisations had worked together “closely for many years, but this announcement signals the start of preliminary conversations to explore options for a merger”. 

The Fawcett Society is a membership charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights. It employs 12 staff. 

The Young Women’s Trust, which was the YWCA and then spent less than three years as Platform 51 before adopting its current name in 2013. It has 27 employees. 

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, announced in July she would be stepping down to rebalance her working and family life, while Sophie Walker, who had led the Young Women's Trust since last year, left the charity last month to take up a role she could not refuse

A joint statement from Fiona Mactaggart and Jo-Ann Robertson, chairs of the Fawcett Society and the Young Women’s Trust respectively, said: 

“We are proud of our shared feminist agenda and we are exploring the potential impact we could have on behalf of the women we work for if we shared a strategic focus and combined resources.

“Both organisations are currently in a good financial position, but we recognise the challenges that lie ahead. 

“The work that we do every day on behalf of women across our country goes on as these merger talks evolve, and as women face even greater challenges as a result of the economic and cultural impact of coronavirus.”

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